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Metals 2015, 5(3), 1591-1608;

Heavy Metal Behavior in Lichen-Mine Waste Interactions at an Abandoned Mine Site in Southwest Japan

Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ehime University, Bunkyo-cho 2-5, Matsuyama, Ehime 790-8577, Japan
Cyclotron Research Center, Iwate Medical University, Tomegamori 348-58, Takizawa, Iwate 020-0603, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Suresh Bhargava
Received: 13 July 2015 / Revised: 26 August 2015 / Accepted: 28 August 2015 / Published: 2 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrometallurgy)
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The lichen, Stereocaulon exutum Nylander, occurring in a contaminated abandoned mine site was investigated to clarify (1) the behavior of heavy metals and As during the slag weathering processes mediated by the lichen; and (2) the distribution of these elements in the lichen thallus on slag. The heavy metals and As in the slag are dissolved from their original phases during the weathering process by lichen substances (organic acids) and hypha penetration, in addition to non-biological weathering. The dissolved elements are absorbed into the lichen thallus. Some of these dissolved elements are distributed in the cells of the hyphae. The others are distributed on the surface of the hyphae as formless particles and show lateral distribution inside the cortex of the thallus. The Cu and Zn concentrations in the thalli are positively correlated with the concentrations in the corresponding substrata and a positive intercept in the regression curve obtained using a linear function. These chemical characteristics make this lichen a good biomarker for Cu and Zn contamination of the substrata of the lichen. Therefore, the present study supposes that Stereocaulon exutum has a possible practical application in biomonitoring or risk assessment of heavy metal pollution at abandoned mine sites. View Full-Text
Keywords: Stereocaulon exutum; biomarker; smelting slag; weathering Stereocaulon exutum; biomarker; smelting slag; weathering

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sueoka, Y.; Sakakibara, M.; Sera, K. Heavy Metal Behavior in Lichen-Mine Waste Interactions at an Abandoned Mine Site in Southwest Japan. Metals 2015, 5, 1591-1608.

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